From emotional coming-of-age tales to eye-opening examinations of American history, celebrate the amazing stories being told by Black authors with the help of this list.
From Jewell Parker Rhodes, the author of Towers Falling and Ninth Ward (a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a Today show Al's Book Club for Kids pick) comes a tale of a strong, spirited young girl who rises beyond her circumstances and inspires others to work toward a brighter future.
Ten-year-old Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn't make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy, the white plantation owner's son.
Sugar has always yearned to learn more about the world, and she sees her chance when Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane. The older River Road folks feel threatened, but Sugar is fascinated. As she befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together. Here is a story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.
"Brims with charm and compassion." -- Vashti Harrison, New York Times best-selling author of Little Leaders
"Love ain't like that."
"How is it then?" Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.
"It's like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?"
"That's why we gotta go to the gas station."
"Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?"
"No, when we look up, there it is."
"Well that's the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches -- love like sky."
"It never ends?"
G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their "blended-up" family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven't seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.
G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie's approval that she isn't there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don't know how to help Peaches get better.
It's up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family's love for her really is like sky.
by Raymond Obstfeld
Chris Richards has always looked up to Jax, his older brother and his parents' "golden child." Lately, though, Jax has been full of surprises. First he dropped out of law school; then he started hanging out with some shifty-looking friends. One day Jax asks Chris to recruit his best middle school teammates for a pick-up basketball game in the park. Chris doesn't think much of it until the wrong team wins and Jax goes ballistic. It turns out that Jax bet on the game, hoping to earn enough money to repay a debt to someone who doesn't forgive easily. While Chris tries to walk a thin tightrope between helping his brother and staying out of trouble, his friend Theo does some behind-the-scenes detective work to learn what Jax has been up to. The day Chris is roped into a police investigation is the day he realizes he made the wrong play.
by Sharon Flake
The mesmerizing story of one girl's struggle to break her family's cycle of poverty is reissued with an arresting new cover.
Thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill is starved for money. She will do just about anything legal to get her hands on the almighty dollar -- wash cars, sell rotten candy, skip lunch, clean houses. She is obsessed. She is driven. She is afraid. Memories of being homeless, sleeping in the streets, and eating handouts keep Raspberry's eye on the only prize that matters to her: cold, hard cash. When the green stuff greases her palm, she gets comfort from feeling its crinkly paper power. And, when money is your best friend, there's more to do than hold it. Raspberry kisses her cash. She smells it. She loves it. But even money can't answer the questions that keep Raspberry awake at night. Will she and Momma ever move out of the projects? What did Ja'nae do with the two hundred bucks Raspberry loaned her? And what's really going on with Momma and that rich doctor? A haunting story of greed and forgiveness by the award-winning author of The Skin I'm In, this unforgettable novel will keep you glued to every page. Bank on it.
Cover design or artwork by Brian Pinkney
Hand in Hand presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. The stories are accessible, fully-drawn narratives offering the subjects' childhood influences, the time and place in which they lived, their accomplishments and motivations, and the legacies they left for future generations as links in the "freedom chain." This book will be the definitive family volume on the subject, punctuated with dynamic full color portraits and spot illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor winner and multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient Brian Pinkney. Backmatter includes a civil rights timeline, sources, and further reading.
Booker T. Washington
A. Philip Randolph
Martin Luther King, Jr
Barack H. Obama II